Financial inclusion means having access to the basic financial services that most citizens in advanced economies take for granted: a bank account, credit, insurance, savings products. Activists for economic development rightly focus on it.
Without access to a bank account, it is difficult to save, cash being vulnerable not only to theft but to inflation. The unbanked find it expensive or practically impossible to transact with anyone outside of their immediate surroundings. Nor will they have much prospect of raising capital to start or expand a business, however small. And, without savings, credit, or insurance, it is difficult to keep a business going or to maintain consumption in the face of setbacks. In short, financial exclusion is economically crippling.
The cost and complexity of collecting information to build a sound business case is no longer the barrier it once was. The capabilities and ease of integration of new technology into operations is giving information that we’ve never had before